One of the major problems that we talked about during our tour of the Forestry program is the problem of the kids not having the right resources in order to make a change in themselves once they were released from camp. Major problem. Money, of course, is one of the vehicles behind this change. What is occurring, not only in camps but also in the general public, is that much of the juvenile youth population do not have their identification cards. There are hundreds of reason of why this is happening: no papers, never needed one before 18 y/o, parents/family not well-informed about the benefits of obtaining one, etc.
Now, applying this issue to the Forestry program, we were told that after learning and experiencing the discipline of a real job that interested the kids, many of them expressed interest in applying to the Fire Department after their time at the camp. However, whether they were to go through with it or not, these kids would not have the proper resources in order to apply. What these kids need is to apply for their identification cards – an application that costs $7 [for the reduced-fee ID card]… still, $7 that they do not have. An idea that was brought up during this discussion, besides providing the kids with job training that they would be able to carry with them after their time at camp, was that probation camps should help the kids out more in getting them the correct resources to help them stay out of the juvenile system; in turn, doing both of these things would help reduce the recidivism rate and everyone would be happy!! Simple, right?
Yet, LA County Probation Camps are not doing this because they claim that the process of applying is too much of a hassle with the kids in camp and that they don’t have the means to provide them with the application fee. These two minor problems can be fixed. First, the fire captain had already set up a system where kids were able to apply for their ids during their stay at camp – so that is not a problem, since he was able to come up with a solution already. Second, a fundraiser could be set up in order to help out the county for their lack of means. And I’m serious about this! As soon as I find a way to formally set up a fundraiser for this problem, I will. So, if any of you reading this has a contact or information that would help me out in this respect, please shoot me an email: MERCC.WORDPRESS@GMAIL.COM. I would greatly appreciate any information that I can get about this!
As they say: “Money makes the world go round”…. or in the case of these kids, money could help them re-start their lives.